After having performed some very well received shows in the Maritimes this past summer, Vancouver indie-pop rock band Hot Hot Heat are once again headed to the East Coast, performing at the Manhattan in Moncton on Tuesday October 12.
From the band van en route to Kelowna, Hot Hot Heat member Luke Paquin is glad to be traveling the Trans-Canada highway once again after a rather extensive American tour the band recently completed.
“We just finished a five week tour of the United States,” Paquin starts. “It was probably the most extensive tour we have done in terms of how long we were out. We only had three days off during the entire five-week span that we were on the road. I don’t think it is anything that we are going to get in the habit of doing – I think we would be at each other’s throats in no time,” he laughs.
The group’s latest record Future Breeds was released in Canada this past May but was just released in the US, hence the heavy concentration of touring that the group undertook south of the border.
The shows themselves were good. We played a number of smaller cities that we had never been to before. We had 600 people out to some of the shows and 60 people at other shows. It was kind of a mixed bag but that’s alright and to be expected.”
Future Breeds is the band’s fourth record and returns Hot Hot Heat to the ranks of the independent labels after having recorded one album for seminal indie label Sub Pop and two other records for Warner Brothers.
As far as Paquin and his band mates are concerned, they are happy to be in control of virtually all aspects of their career once again. Although the group enjoyed the time they spent with Warner Brothers, changes at the label left the band feeling a little on the disconnected side.
“Over the last few years of our contract, Warner were going through so many changes that we ended up being somewhat lost in the shuffle,” Paquin says.
Signed to Dine Alone Records in Canada and Dangerbird for the US, the group has been given the opportunity to affiliate themselves with highly respected independent music labels for two of their most popular territories.
“When we were thinking about our next move after Warner, we decided that being on an indie label with a smaller roster of bands might allow us the opportunity to be a little higher on the totem pole.
“We ultimately wanted to work with people that we knew would be looking out for us and our best interests. That isn’t to say that Warner didn’t care about us but the label was so huge, there were so many channels to go through just to release a record. Happiness Ltd [the band’s 2007 record] was done for a year before it came out and we just wanted to be in a label situation that would allow us to get music out faster.”
Paquin says that to date, Hot Hot Heat’s relationships with both Dine Alone and Dangerbird have been fruitful and are relationships that the group looks forward to nurturing for some time yet.
Being affiliated with a Canadian label is especially good for the group as Paquin feels that their previous alignment with American record labels left a sour taste in some Canucks’ mouths.
“I think with Future Breeds, we are back in everybody’s good graces,” he says. “Canadians are definitely a very patriotic bunch. I think that the band had been snubbed to a certain extent in the past but I think all is forgiven now.
“The fact is, we never intentionally set out to ignore Canada. I think we realize now that the people we had been working with in the past probably didn’t have the best grasp of the Canadian market so we had a lot of our energy focused outside of the country.”
Paquin says that the group feels as though Dine Alone and their booking agent truly understand how important it is for the group to ensure that they hit all corners of Canada to promote Future Breeds.
Their current Canadian tour began more than a week ago and will see the band play more than 14 shows before the tour wraps up.
“It has been more than a couple of years since we did a proper Canadian tour so it’s very important that we get it right this time,” Paquin says.
Once the group’s Canadian tour concludes, the band is headed overseas to Europe and in the New Year will be heading to Australia for a series of shows. After that, Paquin says that the group is hoping to settle down to make a new record.
“We have our own recording studio so there is really no excuse not to make a new record. Looking back, that was really one of the things that hurt us about being part of a major label system. It was quite frustrating at times to have to wait to put a record out.”
Paquin admits the group is still a long way from the finish line in respect to a new record with “some half-songs, portraits and ideas” on the table for the time being. But if he has it his way, fans should see a new record from the band in 2011.
“I’m already bored of playing the songs on Future Breeds,” he laughs. “I can’t wait to sit down in a room and get some new songs in the can and start playing them live.”